Turning Food Waste into Energy to Power 300 Homes
Dairy farmer Chris Noble had a vision to divert food waste from landfills. So, through a partnership with local grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets, Noblehurst Farms initially began accepting food waste and scraps from six stores back in 2014. The scraps were gathered and delivered to a digester on the farm and mixed with manure to create electricity, liquid fertilizer for crops, and dry materials that are used for animal bedding.
Just two years later, 500 tons of waste from 30 Wegmans stores along with local universities and schools were being diverted from local landfills each month, eliminating more than 400 tons of carbon emissions – or the equivalent of removing more than 1,000 cars from the road.
Today, through Noblehurst Farms’ affiliate Natural Upcycling, 200 tons of food waste is collected per week from seven states and Washington D.C., and brought to digesters and compost facilities across the region. The added waste allows the digester to power more than just the farm. It also powers the farm’s on-site creamery and about 300 homes in the community.
* Family photos courtesy of Noblehurst Farms
“Our awareness of the role that dairy farmers are playing in addressing the global food waste problem has definitely heightened,” said Noble. “We are hopeful that our innovative food waste reduction practices will bring additional value as New York State focuses on reducing methane and sequestering carbon in the coming years.”
The farm is also known for recycling the 800 pounds of non-edible scrap butter from the famous New York State Fair butter sculpture each year.